Family Rollers (Coraciidae)

Least Concern

Abyssinian Roller (Coracias abyssinicus)


French: Rollier d’Abyssinie German: Senegalracke Spanish: Carraca abisinia

Coracias abyssinica


, 1783,



Often regarded as forming a species-group with C. caudatus and C. garrulus, though probably more closely allied to former. May be closely related to C. spatulatus. Populations in W of range formerly separated as minor, supposedly smaller in size, and those in Arabia once treated as arabicus; only evidence of geographical variation, however, is apparent clinal increase in tail-streamer length from W to E of range#R. Specific name frequently given as feminine, abyssinica, but genus is masculine. Monotypic.


Senegal to Eritrea and E Ethiopia, N to Sahara, and S to edge of rainforest zone in N DRCongo and NW Kenya; occasionally into desert, N to coastal NW Mauritania (Nouadhibou) and NC Sudan (upper R Nile); also SW Arabia (confirmed breeding at least in W Yemen).

Descriptive notes

28–31 cm (with streamers up to 12 cm more); 99·5–140 g. Head pale blue with white forehead and chin; upperparts brown, with rump, tail-coverts and centre... read more


In flight gives an abrupt “rack” or “gak”, typically loud like other... read more


Dry woodland with well-spaced trees, pasture, tilled ground, cereal and cassava fields, thorny ... read more

Food and feeding

Eats larger insects: crickets, grasshoppers, beetles, caterpillars and alate termites. Forages by watching ground from perch on tree,... read more


Lays in Feb–Jul, including Arabia (Apr–Jun), but later (Apr–Oct) in Ethiopia. Monogamous; territorial, advertises... read more


Mainly resident in Soudanian savanna zone; a breeding wet-season visitor to Sahelian zone N of c.... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Widespread, and frequent to common throughout range; locally abundant. Population in SW Arabia might number as many as 2500 pairs, of... read more

Recommended citation

Fry, H. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Abyssinian Roller (Coracias abyssinicus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 22 February 2020).